Plant diversity, pollinators and other wildlife species provide essential roles with food systems, sustaining ecological systems and meeting goals for soil and water conservation. This page summarizes BWSR’s Living Landscapes Initiative and lists key programs and resources that address these topics.
BWSR Living Landscapes Initiative
The decline of wildlife populations, including beneficial insects (pollinators, butterflies, dragonflies, etc.), birds, amphibians and other species, is a significant concern for conservation professionals and residents of Minnesota. These species provide a foundation for food production, food webs and native ecosystems. Their loss results from a variety of factors including habitat loss, invasive species, pesticides, climate change, and diseases. The BWSR Living Landscapes Initiative provides an approach to more effectively support all wildlife and native plant populations as part of conservation projects.
- Increase awareness about declining wildlife and plant populations including causes and solutions
- Incorporate effective habitat across all types of landscapes as part of BWSR conservation programs
- Focus on the biological health of restored and natural plant communities to maximize soils and water conservation benefits
- Support conservation partners by providing funding, outreach and technical resources
Scope and Approach
This initiative is focused on working with conservation partners to create a network of strategic habitat across Minnesota landscapes to benefit a wide range of plant and animal species. A large number of partners are involved in conservation efforts in Minnesota and play a role in establishing and maintaining habitat including: Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Districts, Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Transportation, NRCS, University of Minnesota, tribal nations, cities, counties, environmental non-profit organizations and many other conservation, outreach and education partners.
The Living Landscapes Initiative is focused on increasing the extent and effectiveness of habitat efforts to build landscape resiliency and support at-risk species. This will be accomplished through building awareness about at-risk species, incorporating pollinator habitat and biodiversity when practical across BWSR programs and continuing to refine key BWSR technical resources. See the list of BWSR program and resources further below.
Lawns to Legumes Program (residential landscape focused pollinator program)
Habitat Friendly Solar Program (recognizes habitat as part of grounded-mounted solar projects)
Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) (strategic habitat on conservation lands and natural areas for pollinators and a wide range of beneficial insects)
Conservation Easements (restored prairie, wetland, forest and shoreline easements)
Clean Water Fund Projects (habitat is a secondary benefit of water quality projects)
Wetland Mitigation/Banking (high quality restored wetlands and buffers)
Cooperative Weed Management Area Program (partnerships to share resources and manage invasive species across ownership boundaries)
For more information contact: Dan Shaw at Dan.Shaw@state.mn.us.
Living Landscapes Initiative Resources
- Seed Mix Webpage (Includes 70 state seed mixes and fact sheets)
- Pollinator Toolbox (Guidance for pollinator projects)
- What’s Working Website (Successful conservation projects summarized by conservation professionals)
- Featured Plant Articles (Native plants important for conservation efforts)
- Technical Guidance Documents (Upland and wetland restoration strategies)
- Minnesota Wetland Restoration Guide (Comprehensive wetland restoration guidance)
- Climate Resiliency Toolbox (Strategies for climate adaptation and mitigation)
- Buffer Establishment and Enhancement Toolbox (Buffer restoration planning)
- Lawns to Legumes Program
- FAQs (pdf)
- BWSR Pollinator Plan (pdf)
- Protecting Minnesota's Pollinators Brochure (pdf)
- Protecting Conservation Plantings from Pesticides (pdf)